Alphabetical Index of First Second

Maker Comics: Grow a Garden!

The purpose of the Maker Comics line is admirable: to teach readers essential or entertaining skills in illustrated form. Unfortunately, while I was very interested in the topic, Maker Comics: Grow a Garden! by Alexis Frederick-Frost was the first series entry that disappointed me. It’s overwhelming. There’s too much background information provided too technically. Instead of feeling encouraged, as though I could try these processes myself (as I did after reading Maker Comics: Fix a Car!), I was frightened away. […]

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Science Comics: Crows: Genius Birds

Science Comics: Crows: Genius Birds by Kyla Vanderklugt offers amazing insight into just how intelligent these birds are. That’s why I love this series: I had no idea about any of these facts before reading, and now I am fascinated by corvids (crows, magpies, jays, and ravens). Vanderklugt beautifully navigates between drawing the bird as a bird and giving it the personality it needs to attract the reader and keep them interested. The crow gets a dog, Buddy, to help […]

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Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Lucy Knisley with a baby carriage. Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos captures the graphic memoirist’s experiences with pregnancy and childbirth — which went about as not smoothly as you could fear, since she almost died during the process. From reading her previous autobiographical graphic novels, I knew she’d dreamed about having children for a long time. As she says in her illustrated introduction, the book covers two years of “what […]

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Pumpkinheads

Author Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl) and artist Faith Erin Hicks (The Nameless City, Friends With Boys) team up for a lovely seasonal story about friendship and crushes and moving on to a new stage of life in Pumpkinheads. Josiah and Deja are working their last night at the Pumpkin Patch (which is more like a minor amusement park, with food booths and attractions and a giant corn maze). It’s Halloween, after which the patch shuts down, and they’re getting ready to […]

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Maker Comics: Draw a Comic!

Continuing the excellent Maker Comics line, JP Coovert’s Draw a Comic! is a fun celebration of the love of comics, both as reader and creator, with a surprising amount of technical guidance. There’s a story, too. Maggie and her (talking) dog Rex (it’s a comic) are putting together a new comic library in honor of her grandfather, who used to read Tintin to her and wanted to share the love of comics with everyone. This open acceptance is a hallmark […]

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Bloom

Bloom is a quiet romance/coming-of-age story written by Kevin Panetta with artwork by Savanna Ganucheau. It uses a leisurely pace to tell a familiar tale, made distinctive by the bakery setting and activity of bread making. Ari works in the family bakery located in a coastal town. He wants to move to a bigger city with his band of friends, but his father needs his help to keep the struggling business going. Then Hector comes to town to clean out […]

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Ghosts: A Not-So-Scary Roundup

It’s that time of year, when we start thinking about ghosts and goblins and jack-o-lanterns and things that go bump in the night. There are plenty of comics and graphic novels with ghosts in them, but not all are scary. Here are some great reads that happen to have spirits in them. Archival Quality by Ivy Noelle Weir and Steenz, Oni Press After struggling with mental health issues, Celeste takes an archivist job at a creepy local museum. A ghost […]

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Science Comics: Polar Bears: Survival on the Ice

Science Comics: Polar Bears: Survival on the Ice, another installment of First Second’s excellent non-fiction graphic novel series, dives deep into the life of one of the world’s most distinctive animals. It’s written by Jason Viola and illustrated by Zack Giallongo. Anik and Ila are sibling polar bear cubs. As they spat with each other and follow Mama around the Arctic, the reader learns in great detail the nature of life in such a harsh environment. The book covers types […]

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